Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Oro Valley Arizona with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must examine when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Arizona employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the Arizona colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Arizona health care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Oro Valley health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that first job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in Arizona and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Oro Valley Arizona, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.